Monday, January 6, 2020

Choosing My Word for 2020

Choosing My Word for 2020

I love the two week period of Christmas and New Year's day. After being so busy rushing up to Christmas, it's such a nice time of slowing down. Our family tends to celebrate with the extended family the weekend before Christmas, so that means my husband and I have a slower pace during the actual holiday.

I like to spend this time looking back and looking forward. Author Shelly Miller calls it the "sacred margin" the time between what was and what is to come. The anticipation of turning the calendar from the past year to a new year seems to generate an energy of its own - and this year we turn from one decade to another!

I have had a sense of what my word for 2020 would be for the past few months. Looking back through my written journals for the past year has helped me solidify that word decision. The word "fruit" has appeared quite often in my journals. It has been a thread I have noticed, weaving through my thoughts and prayers.

The thread actually began over two years ago when our church was going through the book of Galatians in our Sunday morning services. I serve on a team that helps our pastor and others who speak study for and plan our Sunday series. When we studied Galatians chapter five a few things stood out that I had not noticed before.

First, the word fruit in Galatians 5:22 is singular, not plural. Why is this significant? Well, when we look at the list of fruit as fruits - different kinds - we tend to think we are meant to strive after acquiring these characteristics in our lives. But Paul is clear in the surrounding passage that our job is to "walk" (live) and to be "led" by the Holy Spirit, and the result will be fruit - plural. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a by-product of living a Spirit-led life. It is a by-product of God's grace poured out into the lives of His followers.

I struggle with loving people unconditionally, and for years have tried to work on changing that. It has been a difficult battle. But going slowly through Galatians 5 helped me to see that in order to grow in love, what I really need to grow in is my connection to the Spirit and living dependently on Him. It's like this:
"With a literal plant, you don’t grow fruit by focusing on the fruits. Fruit happens naturally when the roots are deep and healthy. The same is true in our spiritual lives. .. You won’t grow spiritually by trying to add love, joy, peace, and everything else to your life. You can only do it by driving your roots deep into Christ. The more you embrace his love and promise in the gospel, the more spiritual fruits will appear naturally in your life... The more we soak ourselves in the love of Jesus, the more the fruit of the Spirit will naturally appear." ~J. D. Greear (

Dallas Willard says, 
"If we tend to the tree, the fruit will take care of itself." 
He calls tending the tree soul care. That's my focus this year - tending the tree.

While there is new energy at the beginning of a new year and it feels like we get a fresh start, it really is just a new leg on the same journey. I realized while reading back through my journals that my focus isn't on something new, but rather digging deeper into what God has been revealing and calling me to in my continuing transformation as a Christ follower.

Last week my friend, Valerie Sjodin, wrote a post about choosing a journal. I decided that I wanted to take a bullet journal/art journal/commonplace book approach to my creative journaling this year and after reading her post I decided to try a Leuchtturm journal this year. You can read Valerie's post here

Do you select a word of the year? I am a part of a group where we share ideas and resources for living out your word of the year.

Living Your Word 2020 Opportunity!
My friends Bernice Hopper, and Valerie Sjodin, and I share insights through blog posts for creatively living a word of the year. In our Facebook group, we encourage one another by posting questions and prompts to inspire living out a word focus, keeping a journal etc. It is a safe place to ask for prayer and support. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word, you can ask to join our Living Your Word of the Year 2020 by clicking on the link below.

Hashtag for Instagram:  #livingyourword2020
Check out their blogs:

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